Preparing for this period of Prayer
I take the usual time to place myself consciously before God in reverence. I keep in mind that God looks upon me with great love and I ask that everything in my day be more and more directed towards becoming the loving person I and God long for me to be.
I then ask for what I desire: to know Jesus intimately, to love him more intensely, and so to follow him more closely.
The following description is an attempt to point out some of the ways of entering into the style of prayer called "Ignatian contemplation." The description in words can make it sound very mechanical. To remember that the act of praying is our single focus will pour life-blood into the dead body of words.
I try to enter into the vision of God the mystery of divinity shared by three divine persons looking upon our world: men and women being born and being laid to rest, some getting married and others getting divorced, the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the happy and the sad, so many people aimless, despairing, hateful, and killing, so many undernourished, sick, and dying, so many struggling with life and blind to any meaning. With God, I can hear people laughing and crying, some shouting and screaming, some praying, others cursing.
The leap of divine joy: God knows the time has come when the mystery of salvation, hidden from the beginning of the world, will shine into human darkness and confusion. It is as if I can hear the Divine Persons saying "Let us work the redemption of the whole human race; let us respond to the groaning of all creation."
This is the context of the Annunciation scene, which we find in the text of Scripture (Luke 1: 26-38). I try to stay with the eyes of God, and look upon the young girl Mary as she is greeted by God's messenger, Gabriel.
Read slowly, Luke 1: 26-38
I let myself be totally present to the scene, hearing the nuances of the questions, seeing the expression in the face and eyes, watching the gestures and movements which tell us so much about a person.
I notice how our triune God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) works so simply and quietly, so patiently. A world goes on, apparently oblivious to the new creation which has begun.
I take in Mary's complete way of being available and responding to her Lord and God.
As I find myself immersed in the setting of this mystery of the Incarnation, I may want just to stay with Mary or with the eternal Word, who has now become human for me. Sometimes I may want to speak out my joy, my thanks, my wonder, or my praise to the three Divine Persons. According to the light of God's grace given to me, I ask that I might come to know Jesus as a pattern for my own living and loving -- and so be able to draw close to him.
Conclude the period of prayer with the Lords Prayer.
[adapted from David Fleming, S.J., Draw Me Into Your Friendship]